Trump calls for unconstitutional stop-and-frisk to be used across the country

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, in Toledo, Ohio. CREDIT: AP/ EVAN VUCCI
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, in Toledo, Ohio. CREDIT: AP/ EVAN VUCCI

In a town hall with Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday night, Donald Trump will call for New York’s unconstitutional and unsuccessful policy of conducting “stop-and-frisks” to be used by police departments across the country.

According to NBC News reporter Alexandra Jaffe, Trump responded to a question about the problem of “black-on-black crime” during the pre-taped event by saying that he would “do stop-and frisk.”

“We did it in New York,” he said. “It worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive.”

“I see what’s going on in Chicago,” he continued. “I think stop-and-frisk in New York City, it was so incredible the way it worked. Now, we had a very good mayor, but New York was incredible, the way that worked, so I think that could be one step you could do.”

A New York judge ruled in August 2013 that the New York Police Department’s practice of conducting stop-and-frisk searches was unconstitutional. According to the ruling, the department carried out searches in a “racially discriminatory manner” and disregarded individuals’ right to privacy, and the judge ordered remedies and a federal monitor to oversee the department.


Then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg appealed the ruling, but current Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped the appeal after coming into office. In 2014, a federal appeals court refused to allow New York City police unions to intervene in the settlement, allowing the city to finally move beyond the tactic.

But even before it was banned, the practice was far from successful. Over a period of ten years, approximately 5 million people, largely African Americans and Latinos, were stopped by the NYPD. Roughly nine out of 10 walked away without an arrest or a ticket.

Bloomberg and other New York officials justified the policy by claiming it would reduce crime, specifically shootings, and would help the police department recover guns. But according to a report by the New York Civil Liberties Union, in more than 5 million stops, police recovered a gun less than 0.02 percent of the time.

During the more than ten years with the policy in place, shootings and murders did not decline. In fact, as the number of stop-and-frisks dropped in the first three months of 2013, so did the city’s crime rate.


Nonetheless, Trump has been a proponent of the policy, tweeting during the New York trial that “stop and frisk works.”

“Donald Trump is having trouble with the facts,” New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito said in a statement. “Stop and frisk as it was applied in New York City was unconstitutional, it didn’t reduce crime and it severely corroded the relationship between the police and the communities they serve.”

Other cities, including Detroit, Baltimore, and Los Angeles, have followed New York’s lead and have also implemented the practice, with similarly discriminatory effects. Chicago, a city that Trump claims would benefit from more police searches, agreed last year to allow independent evaluations of its stop-and-frisk procedures that disproportionately target blacks.

In April, Hillary Clinton said while campaigning that evidence for “stop-and-frisk” police tactics “doesn’t hold up under scrutiny,” although she did not go so far as calling for an end to the practice entirely.


“Some people will be stopped,” she continued. “But it will not be the kind of wholesale stopping you have seen in too many places.”

UPDATE: During a Fox News interview Thursday morning, Trump said that he was only referring to Chicago when he said during the pre-taped town hall that he wants to see stop-and-frisk applied more widely.

“I was really referring to Chicago with stop and frisk,” Trump said. “They asked me about Chicago.”

Campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks also told TPM that Trump “did not propose nationalizing stop and frisk.”